Approaching Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery
December 9, 2011
Approaching Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery
She still didn't have any answers, Buffy mused as she zipped up the front of the vest she'd been given, but she had a whole new reason to be creeped out by Kate and her entourage. And not just because they'd made her change in the back of the SUV as they'd driven her somewhere, although that was pretty creepsome considering the driver was a guy who was probably twice her age. But the fact that they could show up with a black leather vest and matching pants that fit her like a glove… Buffy could think of a handful of ways that they could have tailored something so precisely without bringing her in for a fitting, and there wasn't a single one of them that didn't wig her the hell out.
And then there was the girl riding in the backseat with her. "For someone who wouldn't touch me with a ten-foot pole, you sure seem to enjoy looking at me a lot."
Kate snorted, leaning over and tapping her finger against the glass next to Buffy's head before pulling away. "Don't flatter yourself, Buffy. I'm looking past you. Out the window. At the cemetery. Which I find more interesting than your body."
"Uh huh." Buffy ran her hands over the front of her new vest, frowning as they rubbed over her chest. Something was definitely Not Right, but she couldn't figure out exactly what it was and she sure as hell wasn't going to ask any of these complete strangers to stare at her chest for her. Especially given Kate's wandering eyes. "Remind me again why I had to strip down and change next to you? Instead of, I don't know, sneaking back into my house and doing it?"
The answer came not from her left, as Buffy expected, but from in front of her. "Because we're here for four reasons, and none of them can be accomplished sitting around outside your house while we wait for you to pretty yourself up." Before she could respond to that, the Acura MDX swerved to the right abruptly before slamming to a stop in front of the gates of Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery. Home sweet home away from home. Looking back over his shoulder at her, the man who had been introduced to her only as 'Hawkeye' nodded toward her door. "Get out."
Right then. Buffy sighed as she climbed out of the SUV, bumping the door shut with her hip. She still had no answers, she had some random guy bossing her around, and now she was back where she spent every other night of the week. Swell. There was a soft click followed by movement in the corner of her eye, and Buffy glanced over in time to see the liftgate swing up. The final member of the team, a blonde who was older than Buffy and Kate but younger than Hawkeye and answered to 'Mockingbird', gestured for Buffy to follow her as she walked toward the rear of the vehicle. Lacking anything better to do, Buffy shrugged and did so. What she found surprised her.
Weapons. And not guns, either, which would have made sense given that she was pretty sure the others belonged to some sort of military group. Between the their outfits, Hawkeye's no-nonsense demeanor, and Kate knowing more than she should, it had seemed like a pretty good guess. Now she wasn't so sure. Even if Kate was a gold medal Olympic archer - the disbelieving brunette had explained exactly why Joyce had recognized her name on the ride over - they lived in the twenty-first century. What sort of morons would send their people out into the field armed with bows?
…well, other than the Council.
Buffy was jerked from her thoughts by someone calling her name, looking to her left to find Hawkeye staring at her disapprovingly and Kate… holding out a bow? After a few seconds, the brunette sighed. "You do know how to work one of these, right? Because if you can't, I'm going to look really stupid for suggesting we let you use my spare instead of a civilian model."
Rolling her eyes, Buffy snatched the bow out of Kate's hand and looked it over. It looked… like a bow. Recurve, rather than compound, which was good because that was what she was familiar with. The Council did like their weapons as old school as humanly possible, after all. They'd attached some sort of sight to it for her; Buffy knew she'd never use it, but it was a nice touch. And… she ran her fingers over a strange knob just below the grip. It had a bit of give to it, so it wasn't some sort of strange, molded design piece. "What's this?"
"Something I don't think you're ready for. The ladies disagree, though, and so I was outvoted." Hawkeye reached up and tapped something on the inside of the liftgate, turning the rack the bows had been resting on into one shelf on a Ferris wheel of deadliness. The next shelf to swing around into place held three cylindrical quivers; two were purple and Hawkeye grabbed one and inspected it before tossing it to Buffy. "Current setting is normal arrows. Twist it all the way clockwise and the quiver will give you explosive ones. Try not to confuse the two, especially if you're firing arrows at targets near one of us."
Buffy caught the quiver by a protruding piece of metal and went to swing it onto her back… only to come up short as she realized there was no strap on it. "Okay, I know how to use a bow. A strapless quiver? Not so much. And I've gotta say, I'm kinda disappointed. I don't get any boxing glove arrows?"
Groaning at the question, Hawkeye tilted his head back and silently mouthed something Buffy couldn't make out, leaving Kate to answer the question. "It's part of why you had to change in the car. The vest has some protection built into it… and hardpoints on the back that the quiver latches onto. Makes it a lot harder for you to lose it in a battle."
"Oh. Well, that makes sense. Also? Cool." Buffy handed the quiver over and turned away, allowing Kate to attach it to her back. "And the boxing glove arrows?"
Kate snickered. "I've actually been experimenting with that. If I can make it work, Warner Brothers says they'll buy them off me for their new series Arrow
." While Buffy had been joking… being able to punch vampires in the face from across the graveyard did sound like fun. There were two soft clicks and then Kate patted her on the shoulder. "Got it. All right, now for the rest of our gear."
More gear? The bow with two kinds of arrows wasn't enough? Then again, she didn't have anything that would be useful vampires at close range. And… well, she'd thought maybe Mockingbird was a mutant who was her own weapon, but another round of gear still to come would explain why the blonde was still unarmed. The shelves in the back of the SUV rotated again, bringing forward… "Battle staves. They can extend to double or even triple this length to give you some extra reach. You can even connect them to create a quarterstaff if you want." Reaching in, Mockingbird removed two and a black leather holster before kneeling down and fastening the holster to Buffy's right thigh. "Try not to be too good with both these and the bow. Then you might end up with Kate as a trainer."
"Wait, what? I thought we were going out hunting?" Buffy looked back and forth uncertainly, watching as Kate and Mockingbird strapped on their own battle staves. "You know, now would be a great time to tell me what's going on. Something. Preferably everything, but I'll settle for something."
Hawkeye and Mockingbird exchanged looks, each gesturing to the other several times, and then Hawkeye sighed. "To make a long story as short as possible? SHIELD needs eyes on the ground here in Sunnydale and your name is at the top of a short list put together by our boss. The other Slayer - yes, we've already found Kendra's replacement - can be moved here, but we'd prefer to be as discreet as possible. We'd want you to do two things: wear an AXON camera and controller on patrol and download the footage each night, and help protect any boots we put down for missions. In return, since you dying again would be counterproductive, SHIELD will issue you better weapons and train you in how to use them."
While she'd already proven that YOLO didn't apply in her case, Buffy was in no hurry to push her luck. Accordingly, she was a big fan of anything that would keep her from dying again. Wait, again? How did these people… mehh, they knew everything. Why was she surprised they knew about that? "Okay, so, this is… what? You assuming that I'm going to say yes and seeing what weapons you might want to send me?"
"Pretty much. And what you're good with will affect who SHIELD sends to teach you. Hawkingbird here…" Mockingbird reached up, grinning as Kate groaned and patting the brunette on the shoulder. "…works with me and Hawkeye most of the time because she's best with bows and battle staves. Hence the nickname. If those turn out to be your best weapons, we might send her to teach you what she knows before coming back ourselves to teach you more advanced techniques. Or you might end up with just me, or just Hawkeye, or… other instructors." With that, she cycled the rotating racks in the back of the SUV one more time and Buffy's eyes widened.
Guns. Along with a pair of gloves attached to odd bracelets made up of a dozen or so connected cylinders, but Buffy's attention was firmly on the guns. Which were completely worthless because… "Giles says guns don't kill vampires."
Kate snorted before reaching in and grabbing one of the massive black handguns. Walking over the fence, she took a two-handed grip on the gun and pulled the trigger, creating a sizable crater in the side of a nearby mausoleum. "Think a vampire can survive having that done to their chest? Or their head?"
"Then I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Giles is wrong."
While we're actually getting close to where this will fit into Blue Belle - this side story will form part of Chapter 37 and we'll be hitting Chapter 31 soon - I was in the mood to write more of this. Mildly spoilerific but if you've read Hockey Knight in Boston, you're aware that Kendra has been dead and Faith the new Slayer for several weeks by December 23, 2011. So… yeah. Spoilerific, but at the same time not on common sense.And a new character debuts here. I've been looking for a way to get Bobbi into things since her one-line mention back in Chapter 10. Then I thought back to one of the Young Avengers jokingly calling Kate 'Hawkingbird' in the first arc of their self-titled series, and decided to take that concept and run with it a bit.Finally… I feel the need to address Buffy and guns. Let's be honest, people, the reason guns don't work on vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is because they didn't want to have teenage character running around shooting human and near-human beings up every week. A .50 AE round can make a watermelon look like it's at a Gallagher show. With her superhuman strength and reflexes, Buffy could likely dual-wield a pair of .50 AE pistols or .50 S&W Magnum revolvers and reliably pull off headshots against vampires. While it wouldn't be a stake to the heart or traditional decapitation, I'm fairly certain that being relieved of the back half of their head - and much of their brain matter - would be enough to dust a vampire. So it is a valid potential avenue of training for SHIELD to consider… and very useful gifts for Emma to bestow upon Michelle.